It started off as a bible study I prepared for my sisterhood at school. I’m sure there is a variation of it by others, but here is the story of the Blessing Jar.
I wanted to do a fun craft during a bible study, so I found a decorative mason jar on Pinterest and the idea came to me. A Blessing Jar! I was thinking of the song, Count Your Blessings. You know how it goes…
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
My idea was to write a blessing on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. I wanted to create the jars during the bible study, so I made a Facebook event invite for the session. I was excited and pumped to break away from studying and to just hang out with my friends, decorating our jars.
No one came.
My spirit was crushed. I thought since some people RSVP’d on the invite that people would show up, but no one walked through the door. My heart lifted a tiny bit each time I heard footsteps outside the door, but it was just people walking by each time. So, I waited twenty minutes and then gave up.
At first, I tried to stay positive. I knew people were busy and that things come up last minute. However, I could not get rid of those little nagging thoughts that lingered in the back of my mind.
But why RSVP and not show up?
Are they mad at me?
Did I do something wrong?
I felt like I wasted my time and it certainly did not feel like a blessing to spend so much time preparing the study for no one to show up. When I made it home, a couple tears escaped. I called my mom and she asked how it went, and I sadly told her that no one came. I prayed to God, and asked Him to help me gain strength and not feel too down about the situation.
The best thing I could do was to swallow my pride. And I did…after a week or two.
The lonely jar sat on my side table for the longest time.
Not. A. Single. Blessing went into that jar.
It sat on a table just for decoration. Very sad and depressing. Maybe part of me was still hurt that no one showed up for the craft/bible study lesson.
Time went on, the semester ended and I forgot about the jar. It wasn’t until the start of November 2018 when I glanced at the empty jar and remembered what it was originally intended to do.
Another idea came to me as I was doing my daily devotion, and I modified my original devotion about the Blessing Jar. After writing it all out, I saw that it was much improved and better than the first one I came up with. I had to laugh at myself for getting upset in the first place, because clearly God had something even better planned later on down the road. Actually, it seems to be a pattern in my life, and maybe it’s a pattern for you too.
Anyway, I decided to read the devotion at my sorority’s weekly meeting instead. I even added onto it by bringing up the hymnal, There Shall Be Showers of Blessings, and the verse from Ezekiel 34:26:
“And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.”
I remember singing the hymn at church, and the song would be stuck in my head. What a great way to remember that we are surrounded by showers of blessings! I wanted the Blessing Jar to be an extended reminder for when the song finally decides to leave our heads.
Similar to before, I decided to cut scraps of paper and write a blessing each day to put into the jar. Instead of just putting blessings that came natural to me all that time, I wanted the jar to have an even better impact, a more positive one.
My bad grades changed to a blessing for constructive criticism.
A bad day at work turned into a blessing for being employed.
Sore muscles were a blessing because I possess the ability to walk.
No shows at bible studies became a valuable lesson, a blessing I could share with others.
Even if it was a horrible day, I would try to turn the negative into a positive. When I started doing it, my day would get better. Slowly and surely, my unfortunately realistic, yet often negative outlook transformed in order to look at the positives and opportunities in each situation.
I started noticing more of the many blessings God has gifted me. Philippians 4:19 says:
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
I needed the constructive criticism to make me a better writer. I needed the bad day at work to appreciate the good days with fun and uplifting co-workers. I needed sore muscles to remind me that I have the ability to exercise and practice a healthier lifestyle. I needed a kick to my ego to produce a better devotion to share with others.
The Blessing Jar taught me to look for bits in hope in the darkness. Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12), and we are surrounded in His blessings to remind us that we are not alone.
The goal was to open a jar a year from the day I started, and count all the blessings. The pile of blessings will be a reminder that no matter how bad the day may seem, or how bad my life may seem at the moment, I have many things to be thankful for because God always provides me with what I need.
It’s funny how one simple mason jar taught me how to appreciate the simple things and appreciate all that I do have, instead of wanting something better all the time. I’m not saying not to strive for dreams, but I’m not going to dwell on the negative setbacks that hold me back from being happy.
Now, I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t need some nudging at times to stop complaining and use that jar. My mom will sometimes stop me in mid-rant and say, “go write a blessing!” We all need people in our lives to keep us from straying down the road of cynicism from time to time.
To share the story of the Blessing Jar, I decided to make blessing jars as Christmas presents for family members. Hopefully, this story will inspire readers to make their own Blessing Jar and look for the positive things in life.